Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Car ownership in Waltham Forest

The council is relaxing the criteria for introducing CPZs. Cue hysteria by the Tory group (who loathe restrictions on drivers and have often in the past resisted the introduction of new cycling facilities).

Conservative group leader Matt Davis said: "We feel that this is a further unwarranted attack on the motorists' of this borough, which is almost everybody."

In a city like London, where cars dominate every street, it is easy to fall for the illusion that everyone has a car. In fact the level of non-car-owning households in Greater London has always been astonishingly high, especially in poorer boroughs like Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Camden. In the London Borough of Waltham Forest 40 per cent of households do not own a car, so Cllr Davis is talking garbage.

There are striking differences in levels of car ownership which relate to the geography and relative affluence of this borough. Households in the south of the borough are less likely to have a car than in the north. The percentage of non car holders in the south of the borough has increased since the 1991 Census from 35% in Cathall and Leyton in 1991 to around 50% in 2001. In thirteen wards, 40 per cent or more households have no car. Only seven wards dip below that figure. What has changed in the past two decades is the staggering increase in multiple vehicle ownership by a significant minority of households.